DSM: RE: Cult-school comparison

Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Tue, 12 Dec 2000 09:24:15 -0500

Robert sez:

> A paradigm-cult for school--counseling:
> A cult is people using beliefs and rituals that are not
> mainstream.

The word "cult" has a commonly understood meaning as well as a dictionary
meaning. The meaning above is profoundly broader than the commonly
understood or dictionary meanings.

If we spontaneously adjust our understanding of a term like "cult" we
instantly do two things:

1) We cast a pallor of the more specific, generally accepted meaning of the
word over the subject matter, and
2) We elasticize the relation of the word to its meaning, resulting in a
conversation where nobody knows what the speaker is talking about.

Using the word "cult" is not useful, unless the user is trying to accomplish
a goal other than earnest communication.


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